Published on: 29 May '04Published in: Science
The realization of the Borromean link in a wholly synthetic molecular form is reported. The self-assembly of this link, which is topologically achiral, from 18 components by the template-directed formation of 12 imine and 30 dative bonds, associated with the coordination of three interlocked macrocycles, each tetranucleating and decadentate overall, to a total of six zinc(II) ions, is near quantitative. Three macrocycles present diagonally in pairs, six exo-bidentate bipyridyl and six endo-diiminopyridyl ligands to the six zinc(II) ions. The use, in concert, of coordination, supramolecular, and dynamic covalent chemistry allowed the highly efficient construction, by multiple cooperative self-assembly processes, of a nanoscale dodecacation with an approximate diameter of 2.5 nanometers and an inner chamber of volume 250 A(3), lined with 12 oxygen atoms.